Long awaited Hot Cross Buns

I’ve been trying to bake the perfect Hot Cross Buns for the last few Easters and until now these doughy treats had eluded me. Past Hot Cross Buns have resembled rock cakes, the crosses had dribbled off or they were frankly inedible.

Deciding not to be beaten, this year I decided to consult my bread bible, Bread: River Cottage Handbook. I’ve used it for many recipes in the past including focaccia and bagels and never has it let me down. The reason I love this book so much is that not only does it produce great recipes, it isn’t patronising (like lots of bread baking books can be) and it advises how you can adapt the recipes and make them your own.

The one thing I accidently missed out of the recipe was the egg, this is added to enrich the dough. Given I forgot it, the buns still tasted delicious. Especially warm from the oven, split and slathered in butter. I think this recipe may be making appearance outside the Easter season minus the crosses. But then again, if the supermarkets are anything to go by it’s Easter all year round. Trust me, these homemade versions are worth waiting for.

Hot Cross Buns
From Bread: River Cottage Handbook – Dan Stevens
Makes 8 large buns

250g strong white bread flour
250g plain white flour
1 tsp mixed spice
125ml milk, at room temperature
125ml water, at room temperature
7g fast action yeast
10g fine salt
50g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g butter, softened
100g dried mixed fruit

For the crosses:
plain flour

For the glaze:
2 tbsp apricot jam (you could also use marmalade)
2 tbsp water

1) Combine all of the dough ingredients and knead for 10 minutes until you have soft, elastic dough. Shape into a round and leave to rise until doubled in size. In our house this usually takes 1-2 hours.

2) Once the dough has doubled in size knock back the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape into buns and leave on a floured board, covered with a clean tea towel, to prove for 30 min.

3) Preheat oven to 200°c. Transfer the buns onto a floured baking tray. Mix together a small amount of plain flour & water until you have a thick paste. Pipe the crosses onto the buns. Bake for 15-20 min until risen and golden.

4) While the buns are still hot, mix together the two glaze ingredients then brush over the buns. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

12 thoughts on “Long awaited Hot Cross Buns”

  • Hot crossed buns are on my breakfast menu all year round. I may well dig out my RC Bread book and give this recipe a go :D

    Katie xox

  • They look gorgeous and shiny, perfect! It’s so satisfying when you finally get something to turn out how you want it. And now you can put in them whatever you want – ginger/cherries/cranberries/lemon/orange zest etc, the world is your oyster!

    I remember the first time I made hot cross buns and followed the recipe I was using closely and they burnt in the oven – I was gutted! Yours look great and I bet they taste great too.

  • I love that book and agree with everything you say about it. I haven’t made hot cross buns this easter yet but I was tossing between this recipe and another one. Yours look perfect. Maybe this morning

  • I love the river cottage bread handbook-it’s been my companion on the journey from rock-like bricks to crusty light loaves & golden focaccia. I’ve never made hot cross buns & wondered if theirs would be a good recipe-your photos are the proof & iv got a baking session planned tomorrow!

    • The Focaccia recipe from the book is my favourite. The Brioche recipe has been my least successful but it was my fault as I got a bit stubborn when kneading it and added too much flour. Hoping to try it again soon.

  • Your hot cross buns look lovely! I stumbled across your blog posting minutes after reading the recipe in the River Cottage book – must be an “omen”. I shall be making some tonight.

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